That's not to say it's been a bad month. Just very long. Like 5 c-sections, 7 vaginal deliveries (only 2 in the daytime, thank you for that, my sadistic little vampire babies), way too many scopes, and just a lot of the usual mess of stuff on my desk. That kind of long. Like when the phone rang after midnight last night, I started thinking bad words in my head. (But you know the rule, right? NEVER ever say those bad words to the nurses. They are making my life better by being awake all night, taking care of patients so I don't have to drag my lumpy butt to the hospital. And if there are nurses out there -- you know the gig: Crummy interactions with grumpy doctor = q1 hour phone calls until she cries uncle. Proud to say that's never happened to me, but I've seen it with colleagues.)
So the last thing I've wanted to do this month is edit, but slow page by page, I've slogged back through the first 50 pages of Dante's Inferno. I entered a few more contests, some for Hell to Pay, but more for Dante's Inferno, mostly because I really appreciate the feedback. I'd love to get the book as strong as possible before going out to agents/publishers.
Usually I'm not one for feeling overly intimidated. At least not in my day job. At least not anymore. Heck, last week I cut a human out of another human, which I have to admit never gets old. (And mother and baby are doing just fine. Baby has a massive shock of black hair that sticks straight up in every direction. So stinkin' cute. All my babies are cute. And if they're not, there's always something nice to say, like "Would you just look at that little nose" or "Those are some big feet" or "What a cute bald head" -- even if they come out looking like a squished lizard, one should always say something nice. But I digress.)
So I've faced life and death, cried with folks in joy and sorrow, laughed at the insanity of life and medicine. I've pulled diagnoses out of places where the sun doesn't shine to come up with esoteria like "leukocyte adhesion deficiency" or "pityriasis versicolor" (got that one today) or "gamekeeper's thumb" (today, too -- I was busy) or "bicornuate uterus" (yup, today, it was nuts in the office) -- which by the way, if you didn't know, bicornuate uterus is not nearly as cool as "uterus didelphys" because what's more awesome than 1 uterus+cervix? How about TWO? Like, which one do you do the PAP smear on or check for dilation? Or, even better, what if, in a small town in Appalachia, you start seeing folks that don't have a cervix? (true experience) Faster than you can say "A Fish Called Wanda," boom, you've got your own pocket (no pun intended) of testicular feminization.
Ok, so things got even better this week! I received an email from Toronto Romance Writers -- Hell to Pay is a finalist in the paranormal category of their Catherine Contest! Even better, these folks give you time to revise the entry to submit for final judging by agents or editors in the industry. FANtastic.
Lucky me, I did not final in the TARA (Tampa Area Romance Authors) contest. I truly do mean lucky, because TARA returned judging critiques in time for me to use that feedback for the Catherine. (Wish I had it before the Sheila finalist entry submitted, but it's my bad not to think of those great judges' comments and questions.)
Is this a trait of all writers or just neurotic ones -- to >think< the manuscript is "as good as it can get"? Until someone else points out very good suggestions or holes or ways to improve the work. I so appreciate the judges in all of the contests I've entered, as all of the combined feedback has been so thoughtful. And all of those comments, looking at the manuscript from different angles, all of that has improved the work beyond anything I could have done on my own.
Author, daydreamer, and practitioner of trying very hard to duct tape folks together and help when I can.
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